Mission Accomplished: Our Dream Mountain Property

21 Hopewell Crystal Lakes Red Feather, COA few weeks ago we jumped the gun. In our excitement to actually commit to something tangible again, we told you about a fixer-upper house we were in escrow on.

I’d like to apologize for our premature announcement. We didn’t get the house.

Instead, we pulled out of that nightmare-waiting-to-happen, but only until our offer for a better property was accepted.

We haven’t wanted to say anything, fearing that we might jinx the deal. But now it’s safe to spill it, since we are closing escrow Monday at 11 am.

What Really Happened

We are now the proud owners of a 3 bedroom 2 bath mountain home, on 4.98 acres in Red Feather Lakes, about 50 miles northwest of Fort Collins.

Crystal Lakes Dream Colorado Mountain Home

A few weeks ago we learned that our fixer-upper had a very questionable foundation lying underneath it. Cosmetic repairs are one thing, but buying a house with bad foundation can be a horrible mistake. The heartbreaking news brought back bad memories of our previous money pit, of which we had to put a $23,000 foundation underneath. I cried as we debated whether or not to move forward on the deal.

That’s when we received a beautiful statue of St. Francis, from our friend Heather.

Crystal Lakes Dream Colorado Mountain Home

St. Francis was sent in honor of the 9 month anniversary of our Jerry’s departure, which happened on the Feast of St. Francis. Heather sent this to us on Jerry’s behalf, with an encouraging message essentially telling us to hang on to our dream. She had no we were already in escrow for the fixer-upper. “It’s out there,” she said, don’t give up.

Days later, as we were just about to give up on our search here, we saw the listing for something that sounded too good to be true.

Why We Bought It

Priced way below market value, the sellers are divorcing and just wanted to dump their weekend getaway. As soon as we saw it, we knew this was the spot we’ve been looking for.

Dream Mountain Property Acreage ViewIt fits our criteria perfectly. It’s a simple, affordable property that won’t get us into debt. It sits on manageable mountain acreage near a town we love. And it’s almost within 2 hours of a major airport (Denver). The house is 9 years old and has hardly been used. It’s in perfect working order; it even has running water and heat! Other than the ugly kitchen cabinet doors, we love it.

The house lies in a beautiful mountain subdivision with exorbitant HOA fees, but they get us year-round road maintenance, and all the fishing Jim wants on about a dozen private lakes and river frontage. We could live here all year if we wanted to.

Crystal Lakes Dream Colorado Mountain HomeAt 8400′ above sea level, Red Feather Lakes is a cool summer escape and a winter wonderland for Fort Collins residents. There’s a small community nearby with a couple of restaurants, a bar, a convenience store, gas station, and a post office. Many people live here year round, as Fort Collins is an easy drive to make. What more do we need?

It’s as close to perfect as we can get, but there’s just one problem:  Unlike the last place, which had a big flat space for RVs, this house sits on top of a gradual slope. and the driveway isn’t big enough for more than two RVs, at least until we do some grading. But, the good news is that the subdivision runs a nearby private campground with full hookups ($20 a night) for property owners’ guests.

Dream Mountain Property Acreage ViewSo, with many thanks to Jerry and his pal St. Francis, and everyone who encouraged us to hang in there, we can safely say that we have found our dream property at 21 Hopewell Court, Red Feather Lakes Colorado.

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44 Responses to “Mission Accomplished: Our Dream Mountain Property”

  1. I am so happy for you!! Your place looks fantastic – like a fairytale! I know the 3 of you will be very happy there. I really hope that I will be able to come and visit you one day on Jerry’s Acres.

  2. Hey guys! Sending more congrats to you two for finding what sounds like an awesome place!

    We’re actually down in Salida right now on our westward trek, and considering coming up to Loveland to visit some friends there. Depending on timing, we might be able to swing by and meet up. If it doesn’t work out this time, I’m sure we’ll be back through the area again in the future!

    All our best!
    – Cherie & Chris & Kiki

  3. I am so happy for you both! The place looks great. And, the odd connections continue: my mother’s side of the family settled in a town called Hopewell, in PA. Whoa….
    We don’t have an RV, so we should fit in the driveway fine- haha! That is totally cool about the campground on the premises.

    • Jim’s sister just closed escrow on the same day we did, on a street that intersects with a Hopewell Court. Too weird!

      And no camping outside for you, we have a spare bedroom!

  4. Ok, well congratulations again! And this time I mean it! And I’ll still be happy to help with any home impovement questions you may have, even thought it doesn’t look like you will need much! Great job, and nice fake! We thought you were getting the bad house! I hope we can make our way out there to se you guys some day. I’ll put it on our list of destinations! I’ve never realy been to CO, but I have been through Denver airport, but that does’t count. Good luck, and congrats again!

    • Thanks Brain. The bad house really did have potential, but we are both glad we won’t be swinging hammers right away on this one. We do need to put some drainage in, so whenever you want, come on over and show us how to use a Bobcat.

  5. Eric Auckerman August 3, 2009 at 9:39 am Reply

    Aloha you two!

    This is big and wonderful news, you both cast fate to the wind and like cats found your mittens hooking into the rich soil of stolen Indian lands (I just love teasing your good PC self Rene).

    Having freshly married and just finished eight days with my bride on a canal boat on the Erie Canal, I can only imagine how it must be to go from your RV of 200 square feet to 1500 square feet, the word cavernous comes to mind.

    We met folks who had been living on their 40 ft. boats for some five years and more, they, not unlike yourselves run the full gamut of emotions with regard to living on soil and owning property over that of living on a depreciating asset that’s always in a constant state of decay. The toilets are small, the showers sometimes just over the toilet and no more than a hose, bitty water tanks, propane, waste pumping, sanding and varnishing, diesel, filters, broken hoses and connections, but for some they wouldn’t have it any other way.

    One liveaboard marriage appeared to be especially strained over the aforementioned as he put in 34 years at Kodak and had every intention of sticking it to the man by never leaving the boat for a condo or house or whatever, his, in contrast, wanted hard wood floors, a backyard, and regular less alcoholic friends. He didn’t want her Jesus and furniture and cars and like materials in his life any more. It was his belief that their lives wouldn’t go on forever so he might as well do as he pleased so long as he stayed within the good bounds of the law and was willing to do dishes.

    Ah, the dynamics of partnership, what better test of human character and perceived notions of love than a small domain where both need too work so intimately and so self-lessly? For most people living on a boat or in an RV is nothing short of a cage match or a cock-fight. Cock-fights are never pretty but nor is a spittin’ match between when man and woman don’t agree on the rules of matrimony.

    But I digress, a house or any domain will over time simply change and or reshape your habits and ways. My guy from Kodak claimed his lawn was the revarnishing of his boat as he found peace with every stroke of the brush or when sanding (250 grit, can you imagine, paper towels are almost 250 grit).

    I however wish you both only the best and hope this plot will inspire you to build sound stage so my band can come play, hell, you’ve got 5 acres?

    Question: Will subsistence living be your next step toward relinquishing the bonds of today’s easy access and excess?

    Enrico strikes again!

    • Hey congrats Eric, we were thinking of you two and your wedding month.

      Yeah, cramming a partnership into a small space like a boat or RV takes a lot of patience and willingness from both parties. You both have to love the lifestyle completely, or else it just won’t work.

      As for sanding and repairs like that in the RV, there’s no way I could stand the dirt.

      Your band can play anytime, the deck is certainly big enough!

  6. After reading all the wonderful comments that your friends have made, I can only say that I am very excited for you that you found your spot of ground that will bring more adventures into your lives!

    I have you on “My Google Map” now, so when I come driving through your area in late September, I may stop by for the night at the campgrounds for guest and bring a bottle of wine over! Sorry I missed you in New Braunfels last March.

    Have fun moving in…..

    • Hi Betty, it’s great to hear from you! Please come visit, you can stay anytime, bottle of wine or not! See you in TX in the winter, hopefully.

      P.S. looked up your blog but the URL you gave is wrong. What is it?

      • I think there was one too many http’s, but I deleted and re-pasted…..so you can try again!

        I also have another blog that I started for posting pictures of Alaska so anyone interested in Alaska can see some of the beauty in this part of the world. Colorado has alot of places that make me feel the same as I do about my alaska. Take a look….

        Looking forward to seeing you two!

  7. congratulations guys, am sooooooo happy for you. see you soon i hope.

    all love, as always


  8. I’m just getting the news – been out of touch for a week. I’m so happy for you guys! I know you two are in heaven. We’ll be headed through CO in September. I hope you’ll still be there so we can stop by and visit. Congratulations!

  9. We are so happy for you! Best wishes!

  10. Mike and Cindi July 27, 2009 at 10:28 pm Reply

    WOW! That is great! So , what is your mailing address? Let us know.
    Man I miss you guys. This may be the last year for me with State Parks. I am bummed, but, it hasn’t been the greatest season for me. Mike is doing our ancestry and is having fun. We do things when I am home, I live in the park still.

    Again, I am so happy for you guys and glad you got out of the PIT you were going to get into!

    Many blessings and YES! We will come to Colorado….one day….I guarantee it!



  11. Jim and Rene, I’m so glad it turned out all right! For some reason (and believe it or not) I was feeling the negative energy on that previous place. But after reading this one I think it really feels right this time so I’m saying something! 🙂

    our situations are somewhat parallel, although we are not looking for a permanent house, we have been looking for a rental apartment as we wait for our immigration. It’s hard for us to find the right one – price, location, size, and then the thought of letting the RV go is hard to imagine. It’s all part of this complicated convoluted situation we’re in.

    Anyhoo, back to YOU:

    Congrats, best wishes and hugs!

    • Thank you Rikki. If you had seen this other place, I think your feelings would have been justified. Pretty scary!

      It’s hard to find another home, temporary or not, that can match all of the fun we’ve had in our RVs, don’t you think?

      Good luck in your search, I’m so excited for you two. Your immigration tales are going to make such a good read.

  12. I’ve never really understood why people automatically say “congratulations” when someone buys a house, but in this case — congratulations, for doing it on your own terms and without saddling yourselves with a lifetime of debt.

    If I said it was an inspirational example, would that be too hokey? 🙂

    • Jeremy, we are honored. Thank you. You know, I debated whether or not to write about how we aren’t getting a mortgage on this place. I didn’t want to give the impression that we are loaded, you know? Because we really aren’t (yeah I know, it’s all relative). We don’t have kids, and I know that’s partly what has given us the ability to do this. It’s all a trade off, I know. Our other trade off is that we have a pretty weak retirement portfolio, but we’re hoping we can leverage this property some day for that purpose when the time comes.

      Anyhow, I opted to tell the whole mortgage-free story here, because wanted to show that average people can indeed live debt-free, even without a mortgage. Two years ago I never would have believed it, until I met that woman who introduced me to Dave Ramsey’s philosophy, and it changed our world completely.

  13. Awww shucks everyone, thank you very much. We’ve been holding our breath for weeks on this deal, and it was so hard to keep this a secret. Now we can finally breathe. Yeah!

    Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement, they really do mean a lot.

  14. As a fellow Eurekain, I would just like to say congratulations!

    I have been following your blog for a few months and have myself been looking at land in NM. I think you found yourself one truly beautiful piece of land here guys!


  15. oh yay! congrats guys! it sounds dreamy & so meant to be! i am so happy for you! 😀

  16. Whoo hoo! Congrats you two!


  17. Congratulations and welcome to Colorado! Maybe I should have a house on your street. My grandfather’s name was Caywood Hopewell Martin and that’s part of the reason my parents names me Hope. Ha!

  18. Paula Williams July 25, 2009 at 10:27 am Reply

    Oh, I am so happy for you two, Congratulations! I still hope to cross paths with you sometime in the near future 🙂 Enjoy your new home, what a thrilling opportunity 🙂

  19. Congrats!! It sounds perfect for you…can’t wait to see you in Oct! xxoo

  20. Congrats you two! We are so happy for you. The property looks gorgeous and I love the spacious kitchen. Can’t wait for the open house party!

  21. WooHoooo! That foundation issue was very scary.

    A little paint will work magic on those cabinets.

  22. Yay! Yay! Congratulations!


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